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Bruce Cahan: Future Salon Changing Finance: Socially-Responsive Debt, Sustainable Resiliency and the Means Meter


Published 2006
Topics Future Salon


Abstract: Al Gore aptly describes the planetary forces of energy, environment, industrialization, social justice, war and political malaise as an Inconvenient Truth. How much is Wall Street to blame? What if the finance and insurance markets allocated capital and insurance based on energy efficiency, conservationism, social equity of preparedness and other memes of profound human dignity and insight? What would that world of “high stakes” finance look like?

Short Bio: Bruce’s knowledge of finance, law, technology and government processes is unique and empowers his liaison for new ideas across many domains.

Bruce Cahan is a finance lawyer, who worked for 10 years in New York with the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges representing clients as diverse as General Electric Capital Corp, and the Salvation Army. After a Con Ed steam pipe burst outside his Gramercy Park apartment building, Bruce changed focus in 1990, and organized a nonprofit, Urban Logic, to apply technology, finance and institutional solutions to the problems of rebuilding fragile cities.

Bruce is a pioneer in the use of geospatial technologies. His work with OMB, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, EPA, US Geological Survey, the City and State of New York, OpenGIS Consortium and others led to major changes in the supply of publicly available spatial intelligence and analytical tools. In 1991, he was an early advocate of the need for New York Cityto map itself digitally, and the resulting base map delivered 6 months before 9/11 helped emergency work crews coordinate safe and effective response in Lower Manhattan

Bruce has briefed OECD in Paris, the European Community’s INSPIRE Initiative, the White House, Congress, GAO and other groups on his research. Bruce served at NYC’s Command Center, after 9/11, and his work on safeguarding cities reflects the lessons and mutual aid of those days.


Producer Mark Finnern
Audio/Visual sound, color

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